OLIVIER THEYSKENS CONFESSES HIS LOVE FOR LACE IN AN ASTONISHING EXHIBITION - CRASH Magazine
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©Julien Claessens & Thomas Deschamps

OLIVIER THEYSKENS CONFESSES HIS LOVE FOR LACE IN AN ASTONISHING EXHIBITION

By Alice Butterlin

The Cité de la dentelle et de la mode in Calais is a true staple if you happen to be passing by the north of France, with its permanent collection and functioning lace machinery from the beginning of the 20th century. It has already collaborated with designers – young and more established – in the past but this new project seems like it was meant to be. Who better to expose in conversation with lace than Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens who is known for his neo-romantic style and love for ancient craftsmanship? Since the 90s, he has blended the past and the present with grace and a certain dark allure, whether it be for his house or Rochas, Nina Ricci and Theory where he worked consecutively. Since 2016, he has relaunched his house, a blessing for fans of timeless elegance and nostalgia.

Olivier Theyskens, In Praesentia opened last week-end and offers an interesting and unusual view into Theyskens’ work in parallel with the museum’s extensive archives. Clothes dating from the 19th and 20th century strangely resonated with some of the designer’s pieces which took on a different meaning under the light of the past. The exhibition, curated by Lydia Kamitsis, shies away from a retrospective with a chronological construction, preferring instead to view the pieces separately and file them in specific themes. Along with the clothes, original tools and furniture used for making lace were displayed, creating a contrast between the beauty of a sophisticated gown and the rawness and brutality of heavy machines. While Theyskens has a love for forgotten eras, he is in no way stuck in the past. When asked if he is nostalgic about the fashion industry of the 90s, he simply responds that he welcomes change with open arms and compares the 21st century to the one before, where each decade meant something completely different.

The exhibition Olivier Theyskens: In Praesentia is on view at the Cité de la dentelle et de la mode through 5 January, 2020. Find more information here.

All photos by Julien Claessens & Thomas Deschamps

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